Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Sitting Apart?

In the discussion about Teen Masses that are floating around, I read with interest a parent's annoyance that there are special "teen seats" -a place for the teens to sit together apart from the family.

I was dismayed that this invitation was viewed as negative-on the contrary, I am always hoping to make sure that kids feel welcomed by me. When I was in high school there was a select group of kids that seemed to circle around the youth minister and he knew their names and they all had these inside jokes. My goal is for every kid to feel comfortable around me-not because this is about me, but so that they feel comfortable partaking in any aspect of the things I offer through this office.

I guess I viewed the "teen section" as something that would let the teens grow in independance, but mom and dad would know that they were in a safe place where their faith and values would be supported maybe even enhanced. I can say things that teens will hear that they might not be able to hear from mom and dad, or they may hear good things from their friends.

At any rate. From this youth minister, parents-that's what I want for you and your family. Simply, to support you. Not to break you up!

Do What In The Name Of The Lord?

For all of you who already think I'm off the deep end with Liturgical music, give a listen to this. I've never heard this artist...anyway, scroll down to "Gospel Time", click on it to listen to a clip and have a good laugh.

Speaking Of Teens and Church...

In the midst of the debate flying around blogdom about LifeTeen, Liturgy and Teens, I had an extraordinary experience last evening.

I'm not sure if this is happening across the country, or in my own little corner of the world. We live in Dutch Protestant country, where there is a "Reformed" or "Weslyan" church on every other street. The teens I have been working with are very very interested to "know more". Maybe it's because their friends are all asking them questions, or maybe this parish has done a find job of raising them. I think it's a little of both.

We confirm in 10th grade, then invite them back for a 11th and 12th grade Bible Study. There they touch on subjects, but many of them really want deeper answers, so we are creating a counterpart to the Bible Study for next year.

To iron things out, I invited this years' seniors to the "Faith Study", our first one being last evening.

What a joy it was! We began with the Eucharist and went through points of where Jesus spoke figueratively and compared that with places he chose to speak literally. They were so excited to finally have answers for their Protestant friends-right in Scripture! It was a joy to me to see them so excited to find answers to their questions!

I am excited that we are having to create "programming" if you will, for those kids who want much more. To God be the Glory!

PS We are using Jim Burnham and Steve Woods' book: Beginning Apologetics from San Juan Catholic Seminars.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Life Teen

My friend Dom had an article about Fr Dale Fushek being accused of something that we're not entirely sure happened. However the posting began to be about-much to Dom's chagrin, I'm sure- LifeTeens so called "playing fast and loose" with the Liturgy.

Teen Masses have always been perplexing. Are they under the "Childrens' Mass"? Should we expect that Teens should worship the exact same way as adults? What is admissable?

I'm not advocating anything that is not proper to the Mass, believe me. But most teens do not have any appreciation for the organ or choir music. If well done, why not guitars, drums and other such instruments?

Seriously, at what point can we say we need be aware of the needs of those we are ministering to? We have to always draw people up higher, to things that are better, more beautiful, more sacred-but teens just may not be able to appreciate that yet.

While I stridently argued for LifeTeen on Dom's blog, secretly I often find myself on the fence with some of the things we do for the teens. I will always advocate for the teens-yet how do we help them see the better, the more beautiful the more sacred? Dumping them every week into the organ Mass? Or can drums and guitars and such be a way of getting them down the road to such appreciation of high workship?

Thursday, January 27, 2005


I would love it if there were a Catholic version of YouthWorker and Group Magazine. Those kids got it down. I like their stuff, but often wonder how our Catholic understanding of the world and faith would look at these issues differently.

There is just SO much stuff to discuss!!! How to be genuine, reaching out to kids on the outside, building relationships, how to do a budget, what to do when the pastor drives you crazy, when parents go ballistic, what happens when you realize you got into this because you love kids and you stink at administration, how to deal with our own issues of trust, sexuality, belief in the teachings of the Church, how to gather other youth ministers, what to do when you screw up, our prayer lives, our families, being social, not working overtime (a very important one for those of us who are single), remembering justice and social issues aren't just for the "liberal" that pro-life issues aren't just for the "conservative", how to implement all of the 8 Components of Youth Ministry into the work of the Church with, if I had a publishing background I think I'd start that kind of magazine journal. I haven't even started to really think, those are all just off the top of my head.

Anyone interested??

Small Change

It seemed silly that the name of this place didn't match the url, so I changed the name. Nothin' much else has changed!!

Is anyone going to the Stuebenville Youth Ministers' Retreat this weekend? I WISH I WERE! I could use a break at my Alma Mater! If anyone goes, please tell us all how it was.

"Our Non-Gender Specific Parent..."

Youthworker Journal sends this gem out, tougue in cheek. Sound like Catholic Churches aren't the only ones plagued with "Postmodern Emerging".

The 411

Did anyone catch Katie Couric's special last night "The 411 on Sex and Teens" ? While I'm generally distrustful of the view that Katie might take, not to mention People magazine cooperated with the study, I found the results of the survey rather interesting.

While I was a little dismayed at the portrayal of the young Catholic teen on the show, (you go girl!) it was interesting that the study found that kids with Catholic parents tended to be engaging in sexual activity less than others. It was also interesting to note that abstinence programs and attitudes were a part of the show and Katie took time with some of the students to discuss why they had chosen to be abstinent.

Does anyone remember about 8-10 years ago when the Gov't was getting pressured to start using abstinence based programming? Critics said it wouldn't work. Well, if these results tell any truth, I think we may be seeing a trend: More kids realizing the risks, more kids being influenced by their moral and faith upbringing and everyone just being plain tired of Brittney, Sex in the City type shows and as a result less sexual activity among teens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Soliders For Christ

Does anyone find this term offensive?

I was in the middle of teaching a class to Confirmation candidates and their sponsors, and I began talking about spiritual war and the battle we face as Christians, how being Confirmed will give the candidates the courage and strength to spread and defend that Faith. Suddenly this mom raised her hand.

"I have a problem with the phrase "Solider for Christ". That is such an emotionally charged word and brings up images of violence and war. Christ wasn't about war he was about peace. No where in scripture does it talk about this being a war. These are children for gosh's sakes-not soldiers!".

Well, my ears began to burn and I could feel my temperature rising. Do I back off or pursue the lesson? I knew that the lesson was good. I knew that the 10th graders-yes, these "children" are in 10th grade -needed to hear the truth about what is going on around us and equip them as best as I could.

Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit, because I did exactly that. I knew what was right, I knew what needed to happen. I just couldn't believe her ignorance or her insistance on how bad the term was.

I guess I'm also kvetching here as well. This woman works with the Art and Environment here and is very involved with Liturgy. However she has not liked a single thing since I got here. For example I send home a calandar and letter every other month to all of the 6t-12th grade. I want them all to know that they are invited, what is going on, that they have a place, and that I know their name. With bulk mailing, I end up spending less than $100 every other month-about $50.00 a month to reach all of the youth.

While personal phone calls and meeting them is so much more productive, I will never get to do that for 700 kids. At any rate you would have thought that I took money to go get my hair done the way she railed on me. And this is not a poor parish. What makes it immenesly more sad for me is her children now won't talk to me. I see them at our local grocery store all the time and I will always give them a cheerful hello and ask about their life. They could be laughing one moment, then see me and turn in the other direction. It's sad, not for me-because it's not about me-but for them because they have chosen not to come to events and get involved in the things I offer.

Gr. I was just so annoyed at her and because of our past conversations I knew I didn't have to let it sit to long with me, but it is frustrating to keep battling someone who will never like anything.

I will say Thanks Be To God for the great parents who DID happen to be in that room and spoke up in defense of the term. THEY understood what the point was: Our kids NEED to be prepared to go out and do battle! To recognize those lies from Satan and battle him! I had made a prayer card with the Armor of God from Col. 3:12-14 (which I just wanted to say "Oh, hey. Here is a scripture that talks about battle. In the New Testament even! But that woulda killed the whole "listening to the Holy Spirit" thing I was working on at the moment) on one side and the prayer to St Michael the Archangel on the other side.

Guess who didn't say it.

LOTR: Some Of The Best Lessons

Is anybody else as hooked on the Lord Of The Rings as I am?

Let me qualify that. I'm not hooked because I've read the books a million times. I'm hooked because I don't fully grasp Tolkien's messages in it. Mythology and euchatastrophe...lembas bread and redemption.

See, I get C.S. Lewis, who Tolkien is often paired with/against. I get analogy very very well. I can relate quite easily to Aslan being the Christ figure and so on. But Tolkien has such depth in his themes. It is such a Catholic work of art, much of which I'm very slowly discovering.

I'm using parts of LOTR tonight for our sponsor/candidate meeting. At first I thought I was going to use the scene in The Return Of The King where Aragon, at the last battle and against all odds turns to the army, the Hobbits, Gandalf, Gimli and Legolas and says "For Frodo", then charges into battle.

But what I really think I'm going to do is focus on Samwise Gamgee. He was Frodo's constant companion through this amazing and painful journey. Even in the end when Frodo wanted to turn and keep the ring Sam urged him, pleaded with him, cried out "No Frodo! Destroy the Ring!!" Sam was the faithful companion keeping his friend going, encouraging him, watching over him and in the end, helping to rescue him.

I know I should finish reading the entire series. Yes, I'm one of those people who only saw the movies-though I'm part way through reading The Fellowship of the Ring. I just love watching the movies and hearing the actos and directors give insights not only in to the making of the movies, but into Tolkien's thinking and intentions.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Up To My Eyeballs

I know the rules of blogging is to keep it going so that folks have something to read when they are snowed in or bored or avoiding working on some project at work. (no i've never done that). .. but I'm swamped again.

I've got Confirmation Retreat training tomorrow (and yes I'm here at work on a Saturday night), and I'm in the throes of putting the packets together...

But I sort of wanted to put a hold on things because I was hoping there would be some answers for our sister in the blog from Thursday.

Look, I know it takes time and experience to build up just what it is you believe you should be doing, but doesn't anyone have any creative hints for our friend? Have you heard of, or prepared, or participated in something that really made our Faith come alive to you?

Any ideas on books or lesson plans or movies used to teach a lesson, an event-anything?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Help Needed

Ok, all you fans. Time to help a sister in need. I got this email the other day and thought you all could be of assistance:
I teach in a catholic school but 98% of my students are not
catholic. I have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to help
them understand the Catholic doctrine that they are expected to know. I am also (trying)to be creative in my lesson plan apart from a few game shows, notes,I am at a loss. Please give me some ideas as to have to prepare and implement effective

What are some creative lessons that have worked for you? How have you brought the richness alive to a classroom, or to kids that help them see and experience the beauty of God and his Church?

Swamped. Again

Yet I keep blogging!

And here I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up anything of interest. But so much goes on in my head!

I've got Confirmation Team training this weekend, a Confirmation and Sponsor Meeting twice next week (that I was trying to pass off, I'll be honest) a Middle School Service Opportunity during their RelEd time the week after that, Workcamp meetings, Teen Mass this weekend...parents to call, workcampers to call...ok, I'll go soon.

Sometimes people complain that the Church is too much about busy work and shuffling papers. I must say I get a little offended at that because while it's not the root of our life together, it's what gets us organized to be together to grow and worship and such.

For instance, Workcamp is a wonderful event for the kids. However, we must fundraise to go, so...there is planning of the fundraisers, there are the kids to remind that they need to be there, there are the calls to the kids who have not turned in their fundraising money to hound, parents' phone calls to answer about Workcamp, a parents' ranting about this particular fundraising to handle, meetings with the kids to develop a sense of community and begin sharing our faith life together, adults to delegate things to, a new kid's teary fears to calm---yes. Much "busy work" but all so that the kids can have a wonderful experience for a week at Workcamp.
Phew. I'm tired after writing that!

Great Bookstore!

I just found a great online bookstore! I posted all those books through Amazon, but if you find them at this site, do it!

Books List

I've finally gotten to the book list. If you have any favorites let me know. I'm also thinking about posting good authors and even publishers. I know that rates websites, I find it hard to judge some authors and publishers. Obviously books put out by Bill Dodds, George Weigel and Mary Beth Bonacci are going to be excellent, but there are books and publishers out there to avoid-and maybe some unknown writers who are excellent.

I purposely didn't put obvious books on the list yet. They'll get there, they'll get there!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Online Ministry

How many of you are online?

I love having MSN Messenger because I get to touch base with kids on an informal basis.

I had quite a good chat today with a young woman who is constantly at odds with her family. I know that family is having some major problems such as alcohol abuse and the possibility of the father leaving the home. She is a really great kid, generally has a good head on her shoulders, but has made some mistakes and has lost the trust of her parents.

As it usually goes with teens, she believes her parents are wrong, that they don't even know her, that they don't listen-the typical things. I think it was a moment of the Holy Spirit that prompted me to challenge her thinking.

It's a tough call sometimes, because I know that her parents have not always been fair or trusting. She feels like she is the victim and that they are totally unreasonable. Well, they probably haven't handled everything well, but I reminded her that they are her parents, and whether they do it well or not they love her and have her best interests at heart.

At any rate, we chatted for almost an hour and half, and I was able to get some things done here in the office, but it was a joy to be able to listen and challenge her through the medium of MSN Messenger.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow Let It -What? You're What?

Still going to have Religious Education tonight? But my kid's school is closed and the evening activities are canceled? What? Did I drive home from work with 50 million other cars? Yes -why do you ask?

Good gravy! Yes we got 4 inches of snow last night. Yes most of the schools were closed today. Yes they made their decision at 5am this morning. Yes it's 3pm here and the roads are cleared and salted.

Hey, if you don't think it's safe, Don't come!

But yes. We are having Religious Education tonight. Hope to see you there folks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Never, NEVER Get It Wrong

Have you ever sent something out to all students with a wrong date?


Boy, you should hear the phone calls I've been getting. This is quite a lesson to me-both about my work and the parish.

When I was doing inner-city work no one really cared. Heck, even if I gave a time they'd either show up early and hang out or meet us later because we took the subway and busses everywhere. No one griped if we changed the time or made a mistake. They were just happy that we were there and cared.

Not so in the upper crust suburban life. I have to mind my P's & Q's. Even my secretary gave me the evil eye!!


Not Just For Kids

I want to shoot my TV too, but then I'd miss Scrubs on Tuesday, Alias on Wednesday, ER on Th-D'oh!!!

Zenit has an article quoting Cardinal Ennio Antonelli about kids and the effect of television on their lives. However, I know kids are not the only ones affected...

Walking The Tightrope

I don't know if anyone else struggles with this, but in parish work I find an internal battle going on in my head and I don't know if I always end up doing the right thing.

Ours is a fairly typical parish. We have your average Joe Catholic who is quasi-cafeteria, actually thinks U.S. Catholic is a good read and basically observes all of the good Catholic laws and does so believing that they are doing pretty good. We have the so-so Catholic who got offended by someone and isn't sure they want to go, but shows up, maybe out of guilt. We have a group of definately orthodox families who go to daily Mass, gather every week for a prayer meeting, get exasperated with the pastor and is raising up fantastic kids. We tend to have more cash, an expanding Religious Education program and sometimes the songs are excellent, and sometimes they aren't.

My struggle is that I often want to just outright proclaim the joys of living an authentic and orthodox (sorry to throw that word around so much) Catholic life. I want the kids to get everything that they can, to soak up all the goodness that God has for us-but sometimes I find I back away in hopes of gaining the trust of a staff member or volunteer or parent.

Then I wonder-do I lack courage? Am I really being wise to back off? Am I choosing the right battles to die for? Do I fear losing kids if I remake the Confirmation retreat? Do I wait and patiently lay the foundation, brick by brick til a pretty strong road is built?

I don't always know. I look at what some others are doing-huge LifeTeen programs, Life In The Spirit seminars for their Confirmation retreats-they come into the parish and just change up everything and make it great-while I use what is here and try to enrich what appears to be good already with even more good Catholic formation.

But am I lacking in courage? Am I being wise? I'm not often sure.

Comp Time?

I worked this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday. Two Saturdays of the month we have Service Opportunities for the Confirmation students to participate in (they have to do 2 of each throughout the year) and Sunday was a meeting for the kids going to Workcamp with me.

I didn't come into work on Monday because I worked both days. Not all of both days, but I put in some good hours here. At our staff meeting last week myself and another co-worker were questioned as to why we don't come in until later in the day or not at all on some days. I tried to remind them that my work is often done in the evenings and on weekends, that some days will be "comp" time.

Sometimes the pastor says that I need to be here "business" hours for other staff, for parents or others who call in. I say they can leave a voicemail, an email or a note in my box. If it's not urgent, it can wait. If it's urgent, they have my number.

Still, I felt a bit guilty not coming in yesterday, but I stuck to my guns. I think I was right.

Friday, January 14, 2005

It's Not About Me! Yeah!

I love this quote:

Young people are never won to Jesus because of something that
worked. They're won because God has laid claim to them, wooed them in
Chirst, loved them enough to suffer for them, die on a cross, rose from a tomb
and has called them to lives of sacrificial love as well" -Kenda Creasy Dean in Youthworker Journal Jan/Feb 2005

We get to participate, but we aren't their saviors. Hooooray!

Too Small?

Are these posts too small? I was trying to save room on the page, but looking at the quote below it looks very small.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Great Affirmation

Nice to know we're not crazy! Thanks to Youth Specialties for the link.

The Legionaries And Regnum Christi

I get news updates from the Catholicnews digest and today there is an article about the Archdiocese of St Paul not wanting the Legionaries to "cease activity within the Archdiocese", and the response that the Legionaries give to the sitution:

"The letter to the parishes included a letter
written to Fr. Anthony Barron, North American director for the Legion of Christ,
from the Archbishop stating that "pastors continue to sense that a 'parallel
church' is being encouraged, one that separates persons from the local parish
and archdiocese, and creates competing structures."...

"According to their website, the Legionaries "seek
to cooperate with bishops in the realization of diocesan pastoral programs,
especially education, the family, social services, and the mass media. They thus
promote diocesan programs by contributing their own charism, which is a gift
from God to the whole Church."

I have had interactions with Legionaries and Regnum Christi in the past. I appreciate their emphasis on excellent doctrine and formation. However, I have also found them to be authoritarian, overly strict and a bit too dogmatic in their approach.

I realize that their way is not for everyone, including myself, but each interaction with them leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I, too, am for excellent doctrine and formation, but their insistance and even sense that theirs is the right way has always bothered me.

This, of course, is an opinion piece and others may have had really great experiences with them. But I'm wondering what others think. Could it be that because of the cultural background of it's leaders that it doesn't fit well with many Americans? It is their dogmatic approach that is foreign to my style of ministry that chafes me so?

I'm not sure. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Calling Sin A Sin

I was at Dom's website ( and he has an entry there that talks about a priest who appears to have had a secret life wandering around looking for young boys to have sex with.

When I was at a different job I began to notice that several of my colleagues had boyfriends and girlfriends and that they would "spend the night" at each other's places. We all knew that this was not a "sleep on the couch" sort of arrangement, but yet no one called them on it. I remember one instance where we were all invited for an out of town wedding and the couples began making arrangements to stay in hotels together. When I brought up the idea of the girls staying together and the men staying together I was looked at like I was judgemental and overly-concerned. As my roomate said "If I'm in a room with my boyfriend, I'd hope that you'd think the best of me". Well, yes hon. I'd love nothing better.

What I am speaking to here is: how many of us lead a secret life? How many of us struggle with an addiction to a sin-whether it's sex or alchohol or even drugs. Maybe it's stealing or gambling. Maybe it's anything.

Maybe we ok it in our minds because after all, if no one knows, we aren't hurting anyone, are we? Haven't we then bought into the great myths "If it's right for me..." and "I'm not hurting anyone" ?

But we DO hurt the body of Christ when we sin. Our sin puts a barrier between us and God and us and the Community. We may be less sensitive to listen to the Holy Spirit in the guidance of the ministries we are involved with. We may be less able to hear God calling us for something immediate and specific because we are entrenched in our thinking, in our poor choices and in sin.

This is probably a tricky area to talk about-and certainly a tough one-but I do believe in calling sin a sin and recognizing this in our lives. Whether we like it or not, whether we want to handle it or not we are called to live the Life of Christ so that we can give witness of His Life to others. We are held to a higher standard, folks DO look up to us, do expect certain things about us. This is not all that bad because we should ALL be trying to become more holy.

Does this mean that struggles are non-existant or not acceptable? No. For those who are struggling silently, my heart goes out to you. At the same time, I say-get to someone/place that you can find help. But for those who obstinately live in their sin-get over yourselves. This work is not about us. It is about Christ, first and foremost, then His people.

We need to be at our best so that His people receieve the best. We can't afford to get in the way. To many souls are in need of the Way the Truth and the Life.
Doug has some good pointers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I <3 Administration

That's a heart, btw.
And that's By The Way for the uninitiated.

I'm sure many of us in youth ministry go into it because we simply adore doing administration work.


I'm behind. Again. Today. Loads to do, so won't be much blogging. And I'm in this strange medicated fog still.

If you have something of interest please email me and I'll post it. Would LOVE to hear from others!

Monday, January 10, 2005


I love it when I come to a parish and I find families that are bold in their decisions to embrace and live out the teachings of the Catholic Church. They are miles ahead of the average Catholic family and their witness to some seems extreme, but to me it is refreshing.

I have one wish, though, one wish. Please get involved.

It seems that there is an attitude that prevails, one that seems to say "We are doing so much better than the other families that we don't really have to do (fill in the blank)"

Take for instance, the family that has a daughter in the Confirmation program. She doesn't go to the regular class because "it's not enough" fine, great even. So she and two others meet with one of the moms and go over the material and then some. I wasn't keen on the idea because such high ideals can raise a classroom and influence the discussion amongst questioning teenagers. However in the interest of their formation, I allowed it.

These girls, however, still have not done their service requirements and are now trying to get out the retreat. Why? Because they don't want to spend their weekend on a pointless retreat that they are afraid that they won't get much out of. Oh, and their drama group is going to competition that weekend.

I get that they are really doing well on their faith journey. I was them in high school and I didn't go to youth group because it just wasn't enough for me either. The youth minsiter then was not someone I would entrust my faith journey to and I was never really invited to be a part of their events by him.

However, I do invite these girls. I am trying to get them to see that since they "get it" as it were, they are now responsible to "give it". Maybe I'm jumping the gun since they haven't received the sacrament yet, but this also comes from Mom and Dad.

Mom and Dad are exceptional. However, when things go bad during a liturgy or Fr says something that is, well, off, they go through the roof and I hear about it. I keep telling them "Get Involved!! GET INVOLVED" but alas they don't.

I know moms and dad are the first in line when it comes to Formation and the parish is here to support that. However, I wish these dedicated moms and dads would see the whole picture: That it's not just about what they want to receieve-the fullness of our faith and the best that we can possibly have-but also on giving it back. If it's SO good, why not share it with the rest of the community?!?!!!

Visiting Priests

Since our pastor is on sabbatical for the next four months (I really am delighted for him, it is long overdue) we have a visiting priest.

This past week he rang me up and asked if he would be stepping on my toes to endorse a retreat program that he works with. Well, far be it from me to say no so I agreed, and asked him to either agree to give myself and my secretary all the info and we could handle the admin side of things or I couldl just send everyone to him and he can handle it all.

Having not heard from him I assumed that he would take care of any kids that were interested in going on the retreat. Imagine my surprise when at Mass this weekend he proceeded to announce it and then say "There will be a video presentation in the chapel for anyone who is interested".

Ok, even though he didn't say "See your Youth Minister" who do you think they are going to call. And second-and even more disturbing in my opinion-he had a video presentation in the chapel! ARGH!

Upon chatting with our Deacon this morning I discovered that this was largely Fr Visitor's decision and had given the Deacon several things to do for him in relation to this retreat. What really bothered me was that the Deacon should not have to handle this, esp when I offered to help Fr Visitor with anything. Even more frustrating was his insistance that this video be shown where it was-esp when we have several other rooms available -some of the best are right off the coffee and donuts room-in which to show this video.

Now, I'm grateful for this retired priest coming to say Mass for us and for his work in this retreat program. But I was a bit dismayed to hear the Deacon defer to him.

Which begs me to ask: Because they are a priest, does this automatically put them in charge? Also, am I right as challenge the notion that the chapel is "just another room" or is it really our holiest place, a place of prayer, reverance and worship-not a meeting hall.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Won't be much today, *wheeze*. I'm battling a cough. I'm only here because I can't bear to be in my home any longer. I think the staff may do me in if they get sick, so I don't plan to be here much longer.

At any rate...say a prayer for health.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Exception Or The Rule?

So I'm getting ready for our Confirmation Retreat, sending letters to the past two years' Confirmation class to gather a team of excellent kids to lead this year's Retreat, and I ask my secretary to make copies of this very letter.

Her daughter is in the Confirmation class and the retreat is requiered. Her daughter-and a few other friends in the class-have been given the opportunity to be a part of a big event which occurs the same time the retreat does. So, my secretary comes to me-as she has in the past-and tells me that said daughter and friends have come up with a plan to miss part of the retreat and get the information from other kids who were on the retreat last year, in essence being ok with comprimising their Confirmation Retreat.


Then the secretary informs me that she has already talked to Fr Pastor about it and he seemed much more open to it, that if they have a plan, that would be good. That we need to always have options for people and take a pastoral approach. (ps thanks for coming to me first...)

Ok, I'm all for that. Really, I know that there are definate times when the rules, as they were, need to be amended so to best work with others and these amendments still reach the goal. Like the girl who couldn't make the second service requirement at the local nursing home, but went with her grandmother on a different day, different place and did some good work. Ok, I have the rule that we do service work together to build community, support each and such, but she did make one already and was willing to put in time in a different way.

But this is literally a 24 hour retreat. They have known about it since September. They also knew that it would be required. I hate that word, esp since these girls are really really really great girls, in homes where the Faith is delighted in and faithfully pursued. They also have two more years to try out for this and frankly if they don't make it is it really the end of the world? Of their careers? I know moms want to make their kids happy, I know this is of great importance to the kids, but I'm tired of making concessions to school activities, parents and frankly, the pastor. I also want these great kids because they influence other kids whether they know it or not and hold up the standard of what we should be doing. Well, usually anyway.

What happens when another parent comes to me and says "well, Bobby has a meet that day " or "Susie has a private tennis lesson that day" and wants to not be there?

They insist that if they are gone during the social part it won't make a difference. In my book, any time away from the group is time away and affects the others. The retreat is everything: The talks, the small groups, the hanging out, the getting to know others the meals, the games-every single part serves a purpose.

What would you do? Have you been in this situation? What standards do you use when making exceptions to the rule?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I keep quite a lengthy list and my family usually goes there to get my gifts, thankfully.

I had on my list "Letters To A Young Catholic" by George Weigel, and my sister got it for me. While I was home sick I read almost the entire book. (Actually, the link is to Barnes and Noble who had a better price then Amazon). If you know of any graduating kid either in High School or College give them this book.

Weigal takes us to various places we revere in the Catholic world and from there writes about a particular belief we have. For those who have studied Theology and are often confronted with Catholic who challenge those beliefs, it is a great support and reminder of the joys of our faith. For someone not well versed in the whys of our Faith, it is a fantastic outlook on the exceptional life we live-where the "rules" are not about following them because they are rules or that they are enslaving, but that they really lead us to freedom, happiness and contenment.

I plan on giving it to my college girl who goes to a pseudo-Catholic university and is already drifting, as well as the Seniors, so that they can have another witness to the Faith.

Happy New Year

I've been out sick for a few days, and had a few days off from work. Now it's back to the grindstone!

It's not such a bad grindstone...

I have no New Years' Resolutions, per se. Just keep living, watch TV less, pray more, read more books, listen to the HS more. Y'know. Stuff I should be doing anyway.

Do you have any good New Years' Resolutions?